Sunday, October 30, 2005

Second-Term Blues

Alongside the endless (and I do mean endless, I didn't even get through it all before throwing up my hands) ink spilled in this morning's papers on the Indictment a la Libby, the NYTimes has a handy little guide to the second-term troubles in past administrations. It's worth a read, if only for historical interest. Among the tidbits:

- "The last sitting White House staff member to be indicted may have been Orville Babcock, Ulysses S. Grant's private secretary, who was charged in 1875 with a group of whiskey distillers in a conspiracy to defraud the government of taxes."

- Since Eisenhower, only Nixon has had a lower approval rating than President Bush during his second term: Eisenhower's dipped to 48%, Reagan's to 42%, and Clinton's only to 55% - each stood at or above 60% at the end of their terms. A recent WaPo/ABC poll put Bush's approval rating at 39% (the most recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup number is 42%, which would tie Bush with Reagan except that Reagan's disapprove number was only 46% - Bush's is 55%).

It is time for a serious course correction.


At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Paul Wartenberg said...

I've noticed a lot of second-terms for Presidents don't go so well: Clinton's impeachment; Reagan's Iran-Contra; Nixon's Watergate; Eisenhower's spy-plane fiasco; you could throw in LBJ's Vietnam and Truman's Korea as examples, but it depends on how you count their terms of office (replacing dead Presidents); FDR's Court-packing folly; Wilson's stroke and failed League of Nations; etc. Even Grover Cleveland's split second term was a heartbreaker. Makes you wonder why anyone wants to run for a second term...


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